Coastal managers and decision-makers are faced with the new challenge of designing conservation and restoration strategies that will enable valued coastal resources to prove resilient in the face of climate change. To do this, they need restoration planning tools, based on robust science that will help them to design effective strategies. Critical questions include (1) what is the role of climate-related stressors in impacting critical resources relative to other existing anthropogenic stressors, (2) how will climate-related stressors interact with other anthropogenic stressors, and (3) what is the role of local adaptation and population connectivity in resilience to climate change?
We are addressing all three of these questions for native Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida) in Pacific coast estuaries, a key restoration target for the region. We are taking a collaborative, joint fact-finding approach to this work, involving restoration practitioners and resource managers in the development and implementation of the research, and developing relevant tools for users.The ultimate goal of this project, “Managing for resilience in the face of climate change: a scientific approach to targeted oyster restoration in San Francisco Bay and Elkhorn Slough, California,” is to increase the resilience of oyster restoration projects in the face of climate change. The project will accomplish this by producing restoration planning tools which aid practitioners and policy-makers in the selection of sites where oyster restoration is mostly likely to be successful currently and under projected future conditions. These tools are being developed collaboratively from the start, with heavy input from the core local end-users and also with engagement by coast-wide Olympia oyster end-users and from the international Shellfish Restoration Network. We will also share our broader lessons learned about restoring shellfish in the face of climate change in a user-friendly synthesis prepared for use by all end-users, from local to regional to international.